Category Archives: fossil fuels

Shell facing Litigations over its inability to fight Climate change convincingly


The British-Dutch Multinational oil and gas organization Shell faces the threat of legal action if it does not respond immediately to the demands of Friends of the Earth Netherlands to desist from its perceived destruction of the earth’s climate. This suit if lost by Shell could have rather damaging effects on the oil and gas holdings of the company on a global scale.

Advocates of climate change world over refer to the numerous oil spills as well as water contamination, abuses of human rights and wanton destruction as the handiwork of companies such as Shell. Many are of the view that shell is guilty of many of these crimes. Back in the month of July 2017, a report gotten from CDP indicated that about 71% of the greenhouse gas emissions dating back to 1998 derive their origin from the 100 producers of fossil fuels, and Shell was identified as one of the companies which were ranked as one of the highest emitters of same.

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I have said previously that a number of advocates of the environment usually adopt a rather naive approach to what the companies ordinarily should have done. However, the obtainable reality is that we cannot simply end the use of fossil fuels without it leading to a large-scale effect on lives as well as living conditions over the world. However, on the other side, it is vital to recognize that organizations such as Shell have been in the know for well over 3 decades that fossil fuels have a rather damning effect on the environment especially as it has to do with Climate change.

In the defense of Multi-National company Shell; it has been making rather significant steps to mend its image as it has to do with the public. Shell has made it a part of its mandate to invest in clean sources of energy as well as electric car technologies. Back in the month of January, Shell bought into Silicon Ranch Corporation a solar owner and operator based in Nashville. This was as a part of a $20 million investment in spearheading the rural distributed company Husk power systems which operate in Africa and Asia and made an announcement for a power purchase pact for the Bradenstoke solar plant located in England.

In addition to this, back in November 2017, shell made public plans to reduce the total carbon footprint of its products by about 50% before the year 2050 with an initial projection of 20% by the year 2035.

However, despite the good all of this appears to be doing for the image of Shell, it still is considered as inadequate considering the position of the organization. It is believed that it should be doing more in its quest to fight the damning effect of global warming especially owing to the perceived direct input of shell in the issue of global warming.

By reason of this, Friends of the Earth Netherland as well as an organization Friends of the Earth International which is a synergy of about 75 member groups from different parts of the world advocating for justice for the climate- has made threats to charge shell to court if it does nothing on its request to act pertaining taking action against the destruction of the ecosystem.

In the words of Karin Nansen the chairperson of Friends of the Earth International, “this case is important for individuals all over and it is worthy of note that Shell is doing a whole lot on a global scale in terms of damaging the climate. With this lawsuit, Shell will surely be made to account for its actions.”

A notice letter was specifically sent by Friends of the Earth to the Chief executive officer of Shell Ben Van Beurden with a subject “Liability for inadequate climate policy”. In the opening statement, the brains behind the letter stated the reason why they held the opinion that Shell via its activities as well as corporate strategy is going against its legal responsibility of care by inducing damages to the climate all over the world and as such negating the Paris agreement.

The said letter is about 20 pages long and ends by asserting that in the interest of the human race as well the environment and generations unborn, Shell should take responsibility and meet up with its duty of care as well as its responsibility.

The primary aim of the legal threat is to make Shell find a solution to this rather unlawful situation by making sure that its investment decisions, as well as corporate activities, are in line with its climate targets on a global scale. If Milieudefensie is able to record success in its legal target against shell, it should make shell reduce its oil and gas investments on a global scale and hence lead to a compliance of climate agreements on the organization which should have serious effects on its business runnings.

This recent rise in legal actions as advocated for by the activist James Hansen is without doubt mounting pressure on the multi-Nationals. However, as regards it yielding any lasting or significant effect, time is the only thing that would tell.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Ireland Set To End The Use of Coal By 2025


The Irish government approves that it will join the international group as it looks for vital ways to expunge coal and coal-products by 2025. Out of the few countries that have joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance, Ireland is set to be the latest country to have joined.  It is important to know that the Alliance needs about 50 signatories to commit to putting a stop to high carbon power sources when the UN climate summit comes up next year, according to reports from Business Green.

The Powering Past Coal Alliance is a global initiative that tends to involve different nations, businesses, and organizations that are united in taking the right actions to curb climate change and enhance a clean environment by phasing out traditional coal power.

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The UK and Canada expressed their interest to join other 25 nations and regional states in order to introduce a new global alliance which is aimed at removing coal-fired power and dissuading the world from the use of coal to make the world a conducive place to live in.

Ireland’s commitment in National Development plan 2018-2027 to the conversion of Moneypoint Power Station to close the burning of coal by 2025 marks the end of the role in Irish power generation; it also goes in line with the objectives of the Power Past Coal Alliance.

Moreover, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, have reported the move of the Irish government in a visit to Canada, which founded the Powering Past Coal Alliance last year together with the UK. On this visit, Naughten meets Catherine Mckenna, the Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change, in Toronto.

I am very happy to make this known to my Canadian counterpart, Catherine Mckenna, in person here in Toronto that the Irish government is joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance. Changing Moneypoint and ending the burning of coal through a commitment in Ireland’s National Mitigation Plan. As one of the biggest emitters of coal, the conversion is a big-step-forward towards achieving a long-term objective to reduce coal emissions to 80% by 2050 throughout the electricity generation, environment and transport sectors” said Naughten.

Furthermore, together with the Alliance at the global stage, Naughten also said, “Ireland is a showing its profound support to end the use of coal power to the international community. We are joining other nations and other members of the Alliance in order to encourage other nations, organizations, and businesses to foster the elimination of coal power.

The Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine Mckenna said, the new coal phase-out strategy was “the best step to take in order to ensure a better future for generations to come, and we applaud Ireland in joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance.”

It is necessary to also know that Ireland once voted to divest of public funds from fossil fuels due to the detrimental effects of coal power on the environment. But nevertheless, about 91% of Ireland’s energy is from fossil fuels in 2014, 85% of its energy was imported and the action of the recent government was slow on the transition away from fossil fuels.

Undeniably, Ireland has just one coal power plant left at Moneypoint in County Clare, but this is set to close by 2025. This indicates to every investor, regulator, and industries that nations who are slow in trying to prop up inefficient plans and infrastructures will be left behind.

The commitment which was passed on by the Irish government is a good step to take but the country still has a long way to go to be a ‘top-dog’  to have a sustainable energy future.

The move made by Ireland came in just a few weeks after the country unveiled a wide-range of market reforms related to energy and the National Development Plan that includes set-up plans to foster climate change policies arranged on a €22bn state investment plan to support the change from fossil fuels and products related to it.

Moreover, Ireland’s commitment to stop the use of coal power is a great example of how nations can build a safer and cleaner environment for its residents.

Additionally, in December 2015, the former Irish government was committed to identifying the best replacement for low-carbon technology across the country at Moneypoint, before Moneypoint comes to an end of its operating life by 2025.

The Irish ESB has been decreasing the consumption of coal at the facility in Co Clare since 2012 but it hasn’t made a declaration on an alternative energy source. However, it is expected that the alternative is natural gas, which is cleaner than coal.

Moneypoint is the only remaining coal-powered station that imports and burn about 2 million tons of coal each year as Colombia. It also remains one of the largest power stations with an output of over 900 megawatts, offering most of Ireland’s electricity needs.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

How Humans Are Saving the Environment in 2018


Feeling slightly blue over reports of extreme weather patterns and rising temperatures? The World Economic Forum reported early this year that weather change tops their list for global risks in 2018. So it’s natural to experience some alarm over the state of the world’s climate.

But along with these alarming reports come remarkable inventions, findings, and movements. Humans in all fields are rising to the challenge to do their part in the fight against climate change.

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Here are some out of the box ways individuals and businesses are doing their part to be eco-conscious citizens.

Better, greener farming techniques

Farmers who are concerned with conservation have largely turned to no till farming as a sustainable and eco-friendly way to farm. Traditionally, farmers have relied on tilling with tractors to prepare the soil for planting season. But tillage can injure both the soil and the environment by exposing the soil to erosion. Businesses like Exapta have created equipment that allows the farmer to puncture the ground and plant seeds.

Allowing the soil to remain undisturbed instead of tilling increases water retention in the soil. This results in less water needed for watering a crop. Additionally, reducing tractor use means less fossil fuels used during a planting season.

Planting a garden and farming are often touted as being a popular way to be eco-friendly that anyone can take up. After all, with a garden, you have vegetables and food produce that does not need to travel thousands of miles to arrive at your kitchen table. But how you go about doing so matters as proven by enterprising eco-conscious farmers.

Vegetarianism to save lives, dollars, and curb CO2 emissions

Surprise! #MeatlessMondays has more substance than its use as a trending Instagram hashtag.

BBC.com reports that a family of 4 consumes and emits more greenhouse gasses from the meat they eat than from driving 2 cars.

We are all likely familiar with the notion that too much red meat in one’s diet could lead to various cardiovascular troubles. And years of research proposes that adopting a vegetarian diet could save us from such illnesses.

But what is coming as a surprise to many is how cultivating livestock for our meat consumption contributes to 14 percent of CO2 emissions. Experts suggest that a vegan diet could cut global greenhouse gas emissions by about 70 percent.

There are food supply problems with the entire world deciding to go vegetarian in one go. But since only 3.2 percent of US adults identify with being vegetarian, there is room for many more individuals to step away from the meat aisle.

A shift in diet to eating more vegetables will not only benefit the environment but it will also have direct health benefits for the individual. Vegetarian diets are high in fiber and low in saturated fat. And therefore have been connected to cancer prevention. Studies of Japanese women who follow meat-based diets showed that those individuals were more likely to develop breast cancer than those who followed the traditional Japanese diet, which is plant based.

The tiny house movement not just for tiny people

Heard of the tiny house movement? The movement has thousands of followers in the US and more around the world. Did you think it was just some advanced expression of minimalism? Think again.

In a study by Oregon’s Dept of Land Quality, research shows that 86 percent of the environmental impact of a house is from energy used. The smaller the house, the less energy is required to heat, cool, illuminate, and keep it running.

Also, building a tiny house uses fewer materials to build. Generally, tiny houses are classified as structures that are between 100 to 400 square feet. A building at this size means less lumber that is cut for creating the abode. Less wood used also means less that requires transportation to the building site.

A smaller space means a limit to the amount of gadgets and appliances that can fit in your tiny house. This equals less energy used on gadgets that require fossil fuels to run. Unrelated to the environment but directly good for individuals is spending more time outdoors. Which likely means increased physical activity. The benefits of being more physically active include lessened risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and various cancers.

Citizen activism is the hope for the future

Is moving into a smaller living space not your cup of tea or not possible in your present circumstances? You can still adopt the mindset while staying in the same place.

Look for ways to reduce your use of electrical appliances. Turn off your heating and cooling system during days with moderate weather. Invest in solar panels if you want to go hard core. An advantage to that is the 30 percent tax credit you get for installing them. Once it’s yours, you get electricity for free and can even sell some back to electricity companies for those months when you’ve made extra.

Often it takes a shift in attitude before individuals, communities, and businesses take that step to implement more eco-friendly solutions into their daily operations. The spark that triggers the shift is one caused by awareness. NGOs and organizations that are bringing environmental issues into the public eye play a vital role in creating that change in the public consciousness.

If you are ready to be a part of the solution, educate yourself on the problems. But do not stop there. Support these organizations through dollar donations, or campaigning on their behalf. Government policy on climate change is key to preventing further risks to our world. And citizen activism is an essential part of making that policy change happen.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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Aquaculture: Types, Benefits and Importance


Because seventy percent of the world’s surface is covered in water, humans have realized its importance as a resource. For this reason, one of the areas heavily exploited regarding the use of water as a resource is aquaculture, especially in the production of food as opposed to using the terrestrial land.

Aquaculture is the process of rearing, breading and harvesting of aquatic species, both animals and plants, in controlled aquatic environments like the oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds and streams. It serves different purposes including; food production, restoration of threatened and endangered species populations, wild stock population enhancement, building of aquariums, and fish cultures and habitat restoration. Here are the various types of aquaculture as well as their importance.

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Types of Aquaculture

1. Mariculture

Mariculture is aquaculture that involves the use of sea water. It can either be done next to an ocean, with a sectioned off part of the ocean or in ponds separate from the ocean, but containing sea water all the same. The organisms bred here range from molluscs to sea food options like prawn and other shellfish, and even seaweed.

Growing plants like seaweed are also part of mariculture. These sea plant and animal species find many uses in manufacturing industries such as in cosmetic and jewellery where collagen from seaweed is used to make facial creams. Pearls are picked from mollusc and made into fashion items.

2. Fish farming

Fish farming is the most common type of aquaculture. It involves the selective breeding of fish, either in fresh water or sea water, with the purpose of producing a food source for consumption. Fish farming is highly exploited as it allows for the production of cheap source of protein.

Furthermore, fish farming is easier to do than other kinds of farming as fish are not care intensive, only requiring food and proper water conditions as well temperatures. The process is also less land intensive as the size of ponds required to grow some fish species such as tilapia is much smaller than the space required to grow the same amount of protein from beef cattle.

3. Algaculture

Algaculture is a type of aquaculture involving the cultivation of algae. Algae are microbial organisms that share animal and plant characteristics in that they are motile sometimes like other microbes but they also contain chloroplasts that make them green and allow them to photosynthesise just like green plants. However, for economic feasiblity, they have to be grown and harvested in large numbers. Algae are finding many applications in today’s markets. Exxon mobile has been making strides in developing them as a new source of energy.

4. Intergrated multitrophic aquaculture

IMTA is an advanced system of aquaculture where different trophic levels are mixed into the system to provide different nutritional needs for each other. Notably, it is an efficient system because it tries to emulate the ecological system that exists in the natural habitat.

The IMTA makes use of these intertrophic transfer of resources to ensure maximum resource utilization by using the waste of larger organisms as food sources for the smaller ones. The practice ensures the nutrients are recycled, meaning the process is less wasteful and produces more products.

Benefits of Aquaculture

Economic Benefits

1. Alternative food source

Fish and other seafood are good sources of protein. They also have more nutritional value like the addition of natural oils into the diet such as omega 3 fatty acids. Also since it offers white meat, it is better for the blood in reducing cholesterol levels as opposed to beef’s red meat. Fish is also easier to keep compared to other meat producing animals as they are able to convert more feed into protein. Therefore, its overall conversion of pound of food to pound of protein makes it cheaper to rear fish as they use the food more efficiently.

2. Alternative fuel source

Algae are slowly being developed into alternative fuel sources by having them produce fuels that can replace the contemporary fossil fuels. Algae produce lipids that if harvested can be burn as an alternative fuel source whose only by products would be water when burnt.

Such a breakthrough could ease the dependency of the world on drilled fossil fuels as well as reduce the price of energy by having it grown instead of drilling petroleum. Moreover, algae fuel is cleaner and farmable source of energy, which means it can revolutionize the energy sector and create a more stable economy that avoids the boom-bust nature of oil and replaces it with a more abundant fuel source.

3. Increase Jobs in the market

Aquaculture increases the number of possible jobs in the market as it provides both new products for a market and create job opportunities because of the labor required to maintain the pools and harvest the organisms grown. The increase in jobs is mostly realized in third world countries as aquaculture provides both a food source and an extra source of income to supplement those who live in these regions.

Aquaculture also saves fishermen time as they do not have to spend their days at sea fishing. It allows them free time to pursue other economic activities like engaging in alternative businesses. This increase in entrepreneurship provides more hiring possibilities and more jobs.

4. Reduce Sea Food Trade Deficit

The sea food trade in America is mainly based on trade from Asia and Europe, with most of it being imported. The resultant balance places a trade deficit on the nation. Aquaculture would provide a means for the reduction of this deficit at a lower opportunity cost as local production would mean that the sea food would be fresher. It would also be cheaper due to reduce transport costs.

Environmental Benefits

1. Creates Barrier against pollution with mollusc and sea weed

Molluscs are filter feeders while seaweed acts a lot like the grass of the sea. Both these organisms sift the water that flows through them as brought in by the current and clean the water. This provides a buffer region that protects the rest of the sea from pollution from the land, specifically from activities that disturb the sea bed and raise dust.

Also, the economic benefits of molluscs and sea weed can create more pressure from governments to protect their habitats as they serve an economic importance. The financial benefits realised provides incentive for the government to protect the seas in order to protect sea food revenue.

2. Reduces fishing pressure on wild stock

The practice of aquaculture allow for alternative sources of food instead of fishing the same species in their natural habitats. Population numbers of some wild stocks of some species are in danger of being depleted due to overfishing.

Aquaculture provides an alternative by allowing farmers to breed those same species in captivity and allow the wild populations to revitalize. The incentive of less labor for more gains pushes fishers to convert to fish farmers and make even more profit that before. It also allows them control of the supply of the fish in the market giving them the ability to create surplus stock or reduce their production to reap the best profits available.

Importance of Aquaculture

1. Sustainable use of sea resources

Aquaculture provides alternatives for fishing from the sea. Increase in demand for food sources and increase in globalization has led to increase in fishing. Yet, this has led fishermen to become selfish and overfish the desired or high-demand species. Through aquaculture, it provides both an alternative and opportunity for wild stocks to replenish overtime.

2. Conservation of Biodiversity

Aquacultures also protect biodiversity by reducing the fishing activities on wild stock in their ecosystems. By providing alternatives to fishing, there is reduced attack on the wild populations of the various species in the sea. Reduced action of fishing saves the diversity of the aquatic ecosystem from extinction due to overfishing.

3. Increased Efficiency, more resources for less effort

Fish convert feed into body protein more efficiently than cattle or chicken production. It is much more efficient meaning that the fish companies make more food for less feed. Such an efficiency means that less food and energy is used to produce food, meaning that the production process is cheaper as well. It saves resources and even allows for more food to be produced leading to secure reserves and less stress on the environment.

4. Reduced Environmental Disturbance

By increasing aquaculture, fish farming in specific, there is a reduced need for the fishing of the wild stock. As an outcome, it puts less stress on the ecosystem and equally reduces human interference. Actions of motor boats and other human influences such as the removal of viable breeding adult fish are all stresses put on the aquatic ecosystems and their discontinuation allows the ecosystem to flourish and find their natural balance.

Image credit: pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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Disinformation Campaign on Climate Change Is Still on, ExxonMobil Says


Due to a recent statement made on a blog, the executive of ExxonMobil, Suzanne McCarron have restated the claims made by her company that it is fully mindful of climate change and she has also stated the company has plans to do something on protecting the environment against climate change.

McCarron has said: “I would want to use this chance to be 100 percent clear on where we stand on climate change. We believe that the risk of climate change is detrimental and we want to be part of the solution and not the problem”.  However, one question that comes to the mind is that, if this company is devoted to fighting against climate change, then, why is a still part of the problem.

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Due to a conversation and a hearing between Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe and the administrator of the U.S EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), Scott Pruitt, which provides an exposure to how ExxonMobil’s undue influence remains the obstruction to the actions on climate change.

In the time of this hearing which took place on Jan 30 and was held by the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, Sen Cory Booker unconsciously aggravated Inhofe by bringing up the issue of environmental justice. Booker also made reference to the threats of climate change such as flooding which poses a three dozen Superfund sites in his state and he has pleaded with Pruitt if he has “considered the environmental problems directly impacts people of different communities and of low-income communities”.

During this hearing, Inhofe took the opportunity to refute Brooker saying that lots of low-income communities are excessively harmed by environmental protections, thus, citing that the last government which was headed by Obama through the Clean Power Plan, which would have actively reduced carbon emissions drastically if Pruitt hadn’t abolished it.

Inhofe also concluded that Brook was suggesting that Pruitt was trying to put lots of American citizens at risk by punishing them. Furthermore, Inhofe also made some confession on the effects of the Clean Power Plan and made reference to the Harry Alford, the president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce who provided that the Clean Power Plan and some other regulations would aggravate the cost of living and increase the level of black and Hispanic poverty, in addition, to increasing loss of job and energy costs. Inhofe also wonder if the last government forgot that lots of Americans do pay the price just to keep their house warm and to feed themselves.

In addition to this, Inhofe concluded his statement by using the testimony made by Harry Alford who is the president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) as a point of reference which was unremorseful when it comes to benefiting from the fossil fuel industry. “No doubts, we do and it is only natural that way,” Alford stated on NBCC’S website. “The history of fossil fuels have long helped the legacy of the black people, however, the fossil fuel has been our economic pal”.

However, one of NBCC’s closest economic is ExxonMobil, and it is important to note that this company has offered more than $1.14 million to NBCC since 2001.

In 2015, NBCC officiated a report that appealed that the Clean Power Plan would impose severe poverty and impoverishment especially the low-income families”.

Despite all of these, it is important to also note that unchecked climate change would more than likely affect those communities most and also investments in energy efficiency under this program would ultimately decrease electricity bill all over the country.

In addition, it has been noted that ExxonMobil has tried to finance lots of facts and studies to derail the Clean Power Plan. Also, ExxonMobil is a major supporter of lots of Senate EPW Committee members with Inhofe included. These set of people are obstinate climate science deniers.

Moreover, Inhofe has tied communication with the oil and gas industry, which has donated $1.85 million to his campaign more than twice, furthermore, there other oil and gas industries among the top 10 that have also contributed to Inhofe campaign, some of them include the Koch Industries, Devon Energy, etc.

Nevertheless, 6 of other 10 Republicans on the EPW Committee are also on the list of ExxonMobil’s donation list and this also includes Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, who is the current committee chairman. Almost half of $119,500 ExxonMobil contributed to the seven senators in the past few years went to Barrasso and Inhofe.

In some weeks when the company made a donation last 2 years of a sum of $50,000, Pruitt and also RAGA Chairman, Luther Strange, who was Alabama’s attorney at that time, co-authored a National Review column confronting a coalition of state attorney general inspecting ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel industry about not be truthful to investors and the citizens about climate change.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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Famous Climate Skeptic Withdrew From Top Environmental Job by White House


In yet another famous hindrance for the President of the United States, Donald Trump, the white house recently withdrew the appointment of a top climate skeptic to become the chair of the Influential Council on Environmental Quality.

However, it is important to know that the appointment of this top skeptic by name, Kathleen Hartnett White has been delayed due to some of her controversial statements on climate change and other environmental issues in the past. Nevertheless, Kathleen Hartnett has been finding it difficult to get the support of most Republicans in the Senate. The appointment of Kathleen Hartnett had been delayed for over a year now.

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Just like other nominees from the president of the United States, she doesn’t support environmentalism and she’s also in support of the Texas Public Policy Foundation which was a conservative think tank that got huge funds from Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and other big fossil-fuel industries.

Kathleen Hartnett White was declared last October by President Trump to be the chairperson of the Influential Council on Environmental Quality. It is also necessary to know that Kathleen has worked with the former Texas Governor, Rick Perry, who is now Trump’s energy secretary for 6 years to oversee the state environmental agency.

Furthermore, the nomination of White was flagged in the Senate and she is among the group of nominees that have been rejected by the Senate from the White House when the Congress concluded its activities for last year. Nevertheless, President Trump submitted White’s nomination at the beginning of this year again.

Kathleen Harnett White who has never been a researcher linked the work of environmentalists to “the rigid claims of ideologues and clerics”. When called for a Senate hearing last year November, she shielded and stood by her past comments, that environmental pollution which is caused by burning fuels does not cause any detrimental effect on the environment.

White’s opponents were against the nomination of her heading the council and they referred to her past comments on the support of fossil fuels to help improve the standard of living of people. White has often referred to carbon dioxide as not being a polluting agent but a necessity for plant nutrition and sustenance.

In the time when Perry was still the governor of Texas, White had often tagged the past American government headed by Obama as “imperial EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)” and she had constantly opposed several programs and measures on air and water pollution.

However, White has asked for her nomination to be withdrawn, according to a Washington Post. Also, she has also said in a statement: “I would love to thank President Donald Trump for his immense confidence in me. I will always support his policies and leadership on environment and energy issues and make them of critical importance in order to make our nation great, prosperous, and safe once more”.

The present U.S Senator, Tom Carper who is the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said that, “it is totally clear that being the head of the Council on Environmental Quality is not the right job for White” Carper had said that the withdrawal of White’s nomination from the office was the best measure that has been taken; he has advised the government of the United States to choose a considerate environmental and public health personnel to lead this sophisticated position.

Kathleen Hartnett White has said lots of provocative statements in the past, in which she affirmed that “there are no environmental crises anywhere and that there are no major problems concerning the environment in the US”.

Also, White’s statement was also recorded saying that “renewable energy can’t be achieved, rather, it is a fabricated hope” and she called the findings made by researchers “dogmatic claims of ideologies and clerics”.

In addition to all of White’s statements, it is important also to note that September last year, she also stated that believing in “global warming” is a sort of paganism.

White’s opinions concerning global warming were also aired live in a show in November during her appointment hearing at the Senate committee on environment and public works, where she had problems trying to answer vital questions about carbon dioxide and climate. She said, “Carbon dioxide is not a characteristic air pollutant that you know to contaminate the atmosphere, thus, carbon dioxide has a direct impact on human health”. White was asked if she was concerned on the increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, well, she stated that “carbon dioxide is an important gas that adds essential nutrients to plants”.

When she was asked if she knew of any issue on the oceans as a result of the discharges of fossil fuels, she answered: “there are lots of them”. When requested to name a few of them, she stated that she had only a shallow knowledge of these problems. White couldn’t give a good answer to the questions that were asked by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on the effects of carbon dioxide on oceans.

However, the news of White’s withdrawal was welcomed by lots of Democrats in the U.S and it is also a cheered one for every thoughtful environmentalist all over the world today.

Image credit: pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

The U.S. Imposes 30 Percent Duty on Chinese Solar Panels


The US president, Donald Trump, made an announcement concerning his imposed tariff on Chinese solar panels (this was imposed alongside imported washing machines), thereby giving a boost to Whirlpool Corp and consequently dealing a setback to the renewable energy industry.

A statement by the US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, said that the two imported products: solar panels and washing machines “are a substantial cause of serious injury to domestic manufacturers.” The restrictions by the US president were to help domestic producers of solar power thrive, or probably to enhance the use of coals, which ostensibly is something he’s fighting for.

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A 30 percent duty will be imposed on imported solar cells and modules in the first year. This with the tariffs duty would have declined to 15 percent by the fourth year. Whirlpool chairman, Jeff Fettig, said, “By enforcing our existing trade laws, President Trump has ensured American workers will compete on a level playingfield with their foreign counterparts. The duty would help to slow a shift to renewable energy in the United States”.

Renewables was already becoming a source thriving as much as the use of coals was thriving. MJ Shiao, head of renewable energy research for Wood Mackenzie, said that the duty would likely reduce the projected US solar installations by 10-15 percent over the next five years. He also said that, “It is a significant impact, but certainly not destructive to the end market.”

These Chinese solar panel industries play a vital role in the economy of the US. From providing solar power at a very cheap price, to making jobs available for over 23,000 people in the US. Chinese solar industries ought to be embraced by the US president, Donald Trump. However, his decision seemed to favour a number of domestic solar industries who were complaining about Chinese competition. Some include bankrupt Suniva (majority owned by the Chinese), and bankrupt SolarWorld, owned by the Germans.

The 30 percent surcharge imposed on the solar panel importing Chinese industries, would definitely leave a negative effect on the industries; and consequently affect employment and also the affordability of solar power. The Solar industry, SEIA, on the 22nd of January said on Twitter, “Today’s decision by President Trump is disappointing and will cause immediate & severe job losses across the country. The solar industry is too strong not to emerge from this, but the near-term impacts are unfortunate and avoidable.”

SEIA also said that, “This decision will cause roughly 23,000 American jobs to be lost this year, including many in manufacturing, and will cancel billions of dollars in investments in the U.S. economy. #SaveSolarJobs.”

The bulk of the cost of solar installations is not just the solar panels. About two third of the installation costs is from the commissions, the labor used, the wiring, and so on. The 30 percent imposed duty is estimated to increase the installation cost by 10 percent. An expert, Ramez Naam, said on his post on Twitter, “A 10% cost increase puts the total cost of utility-scale silicon solar in the US back to where it was in late 2015 or early 2016. At current pace of cost reduction, in another 1.5 years, costs will be back down to where they were in past years.”

Ramez who concluded that the industry would definitely be damaged said that, “None of this is to voice even the tiniest bit of support for Trump’s move on tariffs. It’s stupid, job destroying, bad for the planet, etc. We need to be moving faster, not slower. It will cause real damage to the solar industry for a couple years. But it won’t stop solar.”

There’s so much money that can be realized from the use of fossil fuels in America on a regular basis. The government as well as other agencies realize much gain. This is one thing the use of renewables does not offer America. You spend money upon installation; but after then you are left with no reason to keep paying money because all the energy used for such a system is free and cannot be monetized.

Many groups and industries in the US campaigned against the tariffs because they believe it will result in a “crisis” for the burgeoning industry and result in the loss of jobs for thousands of Americans. However, Suniva, a solar panel industry, majority-owned by Hong Kong, applauded the decision, saying that “Trump is sending a message that American innovation and manufacturing will not be bullied out of existence without a fight.” Considering comments from Mike Bloomberg on Twitter, some have come to conclude that it is all a plan to promote the production and use of fossil fuels in the U.S.

Reference: treehugger

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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2017 was the Hottest Year Without an El Niño : UN


The United Nations declared last Thursday that 2017 was the hottest year without an El Niño (i.e. an invasion of warm water into the Pacific ocean’s surface, off the coast of Peru and Ecuador, every 4 to 7 years; and usually affects both local and regional climate). The UN report was based on a consolidated analysis by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) of five leading international datasets.

It was said that of all the 18 hottest years experienced in the world, 17 of them were experienced this century. This may be attributed to the rising industrial civilization and the accompanying emission of greenhouse gases. The average surface temperature of the Earth due to these gases last year was about 1.1°C more than the usual average surface temperature.

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This figure is in line with the “1.5°C” barrier placed by the 2015 Paris climate agreement, to avoid dangerous climate conditions. President Donald Trump’s administration seems to be a threat to the Paris climate agreement. Seeing he stands for anti-environmental policies: publicly denies climate change and wants to promote the use of fossil fuels in the US, plans to invalidate the Clean Power Plan that limits power plant emissions and intends to withdraw the U.S. from the landmark climate accord.

On a normal scale, Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2017 ranked as the second warmest, since it became possible to have global estimates in 1880, according to a NASA analysis. Global temperatures in 2016 were the highest recorded so far; but this was influenced by El Niño, which is considered the warm phase of El Niño Southern Oscillation. Thus, without an El Niño event in 2016, 2017 would be the warmest year ever recorded, (NASA).

While the Earth warmed all over, weather dynamics do affect regional weather patterns. Therefore, various locations experience different amounts of warming. GISS Director, Gavin Schmidt, said to NASA, “Despite colder than average temperatures in any one part of the world, temperatures over the planet as a whole continue the rapid warming trend we’ve seen over the last 40 years.” The Arctic regions (which continued to experience a loss of sea ice in 2017) experience the strongest warming trends in the world, about two times the normal rate.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists gathered a separate, independent analysis that shows a strong agreement with NASA’s report. However, the report concluded that 2017 was the third warmest year in their record. NASA (National aeronautics and space administration) and NOAA use different methods to analyze global temperatures, which played a role in the minor difference in rankings.

Both reports agreed that the five warmest years on record have all taken place since 2010. However, the two reports claim differently that 2017 was the second and third hottest year respectively. The NASA report reads: “NOAA scientists used much of the same raw temperature data, but with a different baseline period, and different methods to analyze Earth’s polar regions and global temperatures.”

Taalas expressed that the warmth in 2017 was accompanied by extreme weather conditions in many countries around the world.

“The United States of America had its most expensive year ever in terms of weather and climate disasters, whilst other countries saw their development slowed or reversed by tropical cyclones, floods and drought,” he said. NOAA noted earlier this month that weather and climate-related disasters cost a whooping $306 billion in 2017.

The NOAA agency listed several noteworthy events, including the wildfires in the west, with total costs of $18 billion, tripling the previous U.S. annual wildfire cost record. This year, the string of devastating hurricanes were also very expensive. Hurricane Harvey costs about $125 billion. Hurricanes Maria and Irma had total costs of $90 billion and $50 billion, respectively.

NASA scientists use measurements from 6,300 weather stations to track global temperatures. These stations include — Antarctic research stations; and ship- and buoy-based observations of sea-surface temperatures.

These raw measurements are analyzed using an algorithm that considers interference that could skew the conclusions. The global average temperature is deduced from these calculations, from deviations from the baseline period of 1951 to 1980, according to NASA. As weather stations keep changing locations, and methods of measurement keep evolving, there are uncertainties in the specific annual interpretations of the global mean temperature.

Therefore, NASA estimates that 2017’s global mean temperature change is accurate within 0.1°F, with a 95 percent confidence level. NASA is the agency that sets the 2017 temperature data and the complete methodology used to make the temperature calculations. Hence, the report obtained from them as to 2017 being the hottest year without an El Niño, is very reliable.

Reference:

Ecowatch

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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5 Benefits of Solar Panels for Schools and Universities


For most people, solar panels are synonymous with residential and commercial use. People put solar panels on their homes to cover electric bills, and augment their commercial buildings to draw new business and “go green.” But what happens when solar panels are added to the layout of schools or universities? Today, solar panel installations in schools are becoming more popular.

As it does, it’s decreasing the environmental impact of these institutions and making them greener and more eco-friendly. In many cases, eco-friendly universities may also see increased enrollment and greater interest levels across the student base.

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Thanks to these perks, it’s a trend solar installers, students, teachers, and citizens alike can expect to see much more of.

Why Should my School go Solar? 5 Smart Reasons

Solar panels for schools have many benefits. In addition to decreasing an institution’s carbon footprint, solar panels also generate a great deal of power. Here are a few of the most significant benefits of solar panels for schools:

1. Solar Panels Work Well on Most University Roofs

Most residential homes have pitched roofs, which can make adding solar panels difficult. Universities and schools, on the other hand, typically have flat, expansive roofs made of materials that are ideal for solar panel installation.

In addition to providing plenty of open, unshaded space for solar panels to work to their highest potential, these roofs are also unlikely to feature sensitive materials, like wood shingles, which can make solar installation more challenging. Since roof angle and material have a major impact on the effectiveness of solar arrays, this is excellent news for any college or university that wants to install panels.

2. Solar Power Will Reduce Operating Costs for the School

Electric prices have risen over the past ten years. Because they use a great deal of electricity, schools and universities have been some of the primary victims of these price hikes.

Fortunately, solar power is a free source of energy, found in abundance throughout the world, and advanced technology and skilled installers have made it even more accessible for institutions.

In fact, colleges and universities have access to some of the least expensive (in terms of cost-per-watt) systems available. As systems get larger, their cost per watt price falls. This means colleges and universities can enjoy affordable power without the guessing game of the grid.

3. Solar Power Could Help Boost Enrollment

Solar power is cutting-edge and attractive to eco-minded students, teachers, and supporters. As such, a college or university that installs a solar panel system could easily see an increase in enrollment.

This is especially true in competitive areas, where having solar panels on a building could be the factor that distinguishes one university from its competitors in the eyes of potential enrollees.

When modern students choose schools, many of them look for options that offer environmentally-conscious practices, renewable power, and eco-friendly facilities. As such, some colleges and universities have even established Sustainability Offices designed to drive the institution’s green initiatives forward.

When these things all come together at a single institution, it’s easy for that school to gain a reputation for innovativeness and creativity.  Not only do solar panels produce energy, but they also stand out as a unique social and cultural symbol.

4. Solar Power Provides Unlimited and Reliable Energy

For universities, schools, and residences alike, solar power systems offer a dependable source of unlimited energy. While fossil fuels are a finite source of energy, solar power is not. Designed to work on cloudy days, in part sun, and even in wintery environments, solar panels can generate a significant amount of power for universities and schools that install them.

5. Solar Arrays at Colleges Helps Drive Solar Power Forward

To invest in solar panels, people need to see them at work, first. Since universities are busy public places, campuses that install solar panels do the important work of driving the solar industry forward by providing greater exposure for solar arrays. This is especially true for universities that install large, campus-powering systems.

Unless people have the opportunity to see solar panels at work, they can feel relatively strange and alien. Luckily, students, faculty, and visitors who come into contact with solar panels on university campuses have the opportunity to learn how the arrays work. This helps familiarize people with the panels and, hopefully, inspire them to invest in solar energy on their own accords.

What About Solar Panels for School Grants?

When residential owners want to install solar panels on their homes, they’re eligible for grants from the federal government to help cover the cost. Luckily, the same is true for colleges and universities. Today, there are many different federal programs available to schools that want to install solar arrays.

For example, the Department of Energy introduced the SunShot Initiative in 2011, which supports research and development surrounding solar energy, and establishes projects designed to reduce the cost of obtaining it. In fact, the initiative’s primary goal has been to make the price of solar energy comparable to that of fossil fuel-based electricity by 2020.

Programs like these can go a long way toward offsetting the price of solar installation for schools and universities and making them that much more accessible for establishments that are interested in exploring them.

The Future of University Solar Installs Looks Bright

Today, colleges and universities have a great deal to gain when it comes to the installation of solar panels. Ideal for reducing energy bills and cutting costs associated with powering a school’s facilities, solar panels are an eco-friendly addition that can also have wide-reaching social and cultural impacts, and companies like Sandbar Solar are installing more and more of them.

When students see a university taking steps to go green and reduce their carbon footprint, it could easily impact the student’s attendance decision and result in higher enrollment numbers for the school.

What’s more, since tax rebates and credits are available for schools that want to install solar panels, it’s an affordable option that will pay off down the road.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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Oxygen Levels of Oceans Are Decreasing At An Alarming Rate [Recent Study]


It is important to note that dead zones of oceans have multiplied in size since 1950, thus, increasing in 1000 percent rate, according to a recent research that has been published in the Journal of science. This recent research lays more emphasis to climate change and industrial animal agriculture as the main cause in open oceans.

However, dead zones are areas in oceans or seas with a low-level of oxygen. Aquatic animals in these areas are usually affected and hence, they die due to low-level of oxygen. Furthermore, dead zone areas in open waters usually vary in size due to the changes in tides and seasons. Nevertheless, dead zones are always present in areas where excess nutrients are available due to conservative agricultural activities that take place, thus, entering the waterways.

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Also, human activities are majorly the cause of the increase in dead zones. Climate change, on the other hand, is also caused by the emission of fossil fuels – which are also as a result of human activities. The emission of fossil fuels is also responsible for the increase in dead zones in open waters. It is also important to note that, oceans, naturally, have areas that are low in oxygen-levels which occur in the west of continents due to the rotation of the Earth.

Sadly, coastal zones which usually provide jobs for millions of people today are now deserted, due to the intense increase in dead zones. According to a recent study, it has been known that dead zones have increased by an area which is almost the size of the European Union since 1950, where 50 dead zones were stated across the world today.

A recent study made by the mirrors environmental group Mighty’s research from 2017, has also stated that agricultural runoff is the major cause of the largest dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Although, much blames were put on the Americans’ for their love for meat by Mighty’s research especially with red signs from Tyson Foods, which is one of the biggest meat companies in the United States. Thanks to Tyson foods and companies like them, they have contributed to the runoff of nutrients that have resulted in dead zones in open oceans.

“Recent research is no longer a surprise and they have further ascertained that the unimpeded pollution from agricultural industries has attained a critical level and immediate measures are needed to curb the problem,” said Lucia von Reusner, Campaign Director for Mighty Earth.

One question that comes to the mind is how the animal agricultural industry is the main cause of dead zone in open seas. It is important to note that animals that are reared for the production of food produce 130 times more dung than the whole population of humans. However, over 335 million tons of manure at the dry weight is produced by animals in the U.S every year.

Most times, if there are inadequate facilities to take care of the wastes produced from these animals, the manure or dung excreted would definitely end up in the groundwater and then, it will flow into the ocean and accumulate –approximately over 335 million tons of extra nutrient

The accumulation of the dung from livestock is only part of the problem. It necessary to know that there is a reason why this livestock are excreting, and it is due to excess nitrogen and phosphorous. Over 85% of soybean production over the world belongs to livestock feed. It has also been recorded that 80% of processed corn in the U.S belongs to animal feed. With this, you can see that a lot of composts are used to grow farm produce. Also, in 2011, 22 million tons manure were used for farming in the U.S. Forlornly, do you know that only 50% of fertilizers are actually utilized by crops? The rest fertilizers usually runoff into waterways.

Luca von Reusner has this to say, “food industries like Tyson Foods are the leading the drive behind the demand of corn and soy produced foods, which leads to the increase in the number of nutrients in our open waters and seas.

According to a recent survey made by the One World One Ocean, it has been reported that there are over 405 ocean “dead zones”. The increase in the number of dead zones in our open oceans is as a result of the increase in human population and agricultural activities. With more than ninety million acres of corn last year reported by Scientific American, the number of dead zones in open oceans have increased sporadically, thus, threatening the lives of marine animals.

What is the solution to all of these? There are lots of things we can do to stop dead zones. We can start by making the right choice with our diets. Wherever we are, the need to embrace plant-based whole foods are vital. We, humans, have the ability to create a better world for ourselves and our generations to come and the countless of animals on our planet. We can make the right choice by swapping animal-based products to our daily diet.

Image credit: pexels

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

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